Chinese Super League 2019: Shanghai SIPG to visit city rivals Shenhua on opening day
Hu Zhicheng

Shanghai SIPG will make the trip to enemy territory to start their title defense at city rivals Shanghai Shenhua on March 1, the Chinese Super League announced on Sunday as it unveiled the fixtures for the 2019 season.

The visit of Vitor Pereira's side to the Hongkou Stadium for Sanchez Flores' Shanghai derby debut is the highlight of the opening weekend of the campaign, where newly-promoted Wuhan Zall are also handed a tricky assignment against Beijing Guoan on day one. 

SIPG, who finished five points clear of second-placed Guangzhou Evergrande in 2018 but lost top goalscorer Wu Lei to La Liga side Espanyol during the winter transfer window, do not face another side from last season's top four until the home clash with Shandong Luneng in May. 

Shanghai SIPG's star midfielder Oscar (R) surges past Shanghai Shenhua's Qin Sheng during their clash, November 26, 2017. /VCG Photo 

Shanghai SIPG's star midfielder Oscar (R) surges past Shanghai Shenhua's Qin Sheng during their clash, November 26, 2017. /VCG Photo 

Seven-time CSL champions Evergrande will start their quest for silverware at Tianhe Stadium against Tianjin Tianhai, while Luneng welcome Beijing Renhe to Jinan Olympic Sports Center.

Elsewhere, Shenzhen FC's first game back in the top flight will see them host Chris Coleman's Hebei China Fortune. The three other fixtures on the opening weekend see Guangzhou R&F travel to Chongqing Lifan, Henan Jianye entertain Dalian Yifang, and Jiangsu Suning take on Tianjin Teda.

Among the final round of matches, scheduled for December 1, SIPG are in Shenzhen, Evergrande take in home date with Shenhua, while Guoan are set to lock horns with Shandong Luneng at Workers' Stadium.

Beijing Guoan's Jonathan Viera (C) tackles Shandong Luneng's Hap Junmin during their clash at Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium, November 30, 2018. /VCG Photo

Beijing Guoan's Jonathan Viera (C) tackles Shandong Luneng's Hap Junmin during their clash at Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium, November 30, 2018. /VCG Photo

The full schedule of opening weekend

Shandong Luneng v Beijing Renhe

Guangzhou Evergrande v Tianjin Tianhai

Shanghai Shenhua v Shanghai SIPG

Wuhan Zall v Beijing Guoan

Chongqing Lifan v Guangzhou R&F

Shenzhen FC v Hebei China Fortune

Henan Jianye v Dalian Yifang

Jiangsu Suning v Tianjin Teda